Safety Inspection

Step by step guide on how to perform a vehicle safety inspection, this information pertains to most cars.

Difficulty Scale: 1 of 10

Begin by parking the vehicle on level ground, engine off, with the parking brake set.

Step 1 - Check tire condition, inspection tread wear, side wall condition and air pressure readings. Learn more

Tire Safety Inspection

Step 2 - A vehicle relies on several types of fluid to maintain proper operation, when these fluids run low they can causes minor or major problems. Learn more

Checking Engine Oil

Step 3 - A serpentine belt is used to supply power to the accessories of the engine such as the alternator and water pump and is a normal service item which should be replaced when signs of wear are present. Learn more

Serpentine Belt Replacement

Step 4 - Coolant hoses are used to transfer coolant from the engine to the radiator, if a leak develops the engine will overheat and stop running. Learn more

Radiator Hose Replacement

Step 5 - Vehicle lights should be working at all times, in fact it's against the law for any exterior lights not to be working. Make regular checks to all lighting systems and bulbs to assure the proper operation. Learn more

Exterior Light Inspection

Step 6 - An airbag safety system is used to help keep passengers safe in the event of an accident, if the airbag warning light is on while driving the system is non-operational. Learn more

Airbag Warning Light

Step 7 - Wiper blades help remove moisture and dirt from the windshield, when wipers wear then can fail impeding vision of the driver. These items are a normal maintenance item and should be replaced regularly. Learn more

Wiper Blades

Step 8 - It's the driver's responsibility that everyone in the vehicle is fastened securely, make sure all safety belts are working properly and stay fastened after being buckled.

Seat Belt

Step 9 - Identify warning lights illuminated in the instrument cluster while driving, these lights indicate a problem that needs attention, identifying a problem early can mean the difference from a simple repair, or a costly one.

Warning Lights

Step 10 - Learn basic tips and information every driver should know. Learn more

Helpful Information

A car operates using a variety of systems from the air conditioner to the power steering. Some systems require little maintenance, a basic visual safety inspection is all that is required, while other systems need routine maintenance. A safety inspection should be included at all service intervals to detect any malfunction in these systems. Between service intervals safety inspections are also necessary before a long journey to ensure safe passage.


Written by
Co-Founder and CEO of
35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


Please use our question form if you have a specific question about your car as we are not able to give you a full answer on this page.

Article first published (Updated 2015-02-20)